Why are sales meetings seen as a colossal waste of time by salespeople? Because for the most part they lack a strategic agenda. They contain no valuable information that can help salespeople solve problems and do their jobs better. But these five tips can help you transform boring, ineffective sales meetings into productive ones.
Have a Plan
Productive sales meetings start with a detailed agenda. Your first order of business is framing each topic and making sure the conversation doesn’t wander. The most effective sales meetings focus on three main goals: solving problems, sharing ideas and resources, and improving sales skills. Start the meeting by clearly stating the issues and outlining the goals of the discussion.
Make Meetings Relevant, Collaborative
It’s critical to prepare meetings from a salesperson’s perspective. For every item on the agenda, make sure something is in it for them, something that can equip the team to compete and win. Also, make the meeting as collaborative as possible. By encouraging everyone to participate, you come away with combined experiences and perspectives that can benefit each member of the team.
Don’t Monopolize the Conversation
Sales managers should take care to keep their meetings as democratic as possible and avoid turning them into a one-way channel for delivering lectures or issuing warnings. Similarly, in any group there is invariably someone who wants to dominate the conversation and be the center of attention. Though it’s important to acknowledge their input, you should also keep this person in check by making sure everyone else has their say. The key to a successful sales meeting is ensuring that everyone’s opinion is equally respected and properly discussed.
Great sales meetings lead to concrete results such as more deals, better customer relationships, and higher team morale. The ideas and strategies presented in the sales meeting can start the week off on the right note and create a sense of energy and momentum that fuels salespeople to even greater success. A well run, interactive sales meeting also can have a positive impact on the confidence and development of your team. Conversely, poorly run meetings could undermine your leadership and stifle the growth of your team.
Be Creative, Have Fun
Try experimenting with role-playing techniques. For instance, if one of your salespeople has trouble handling a customer’s price objections, try acting out the scenario with other team members. Have one of your salespeople play the part of the difficult customer. Encourage that person to play devil’s advocate, raising as many objections as possible. This is a good exercise for the salesperson having problems because it helps build the confidence necessary to win over actual customers in the line of duty.
Also, don’t be afraid to lighten things up once in a while. Have a surprise visit by Elvis Presley at the Halloween sales meeting. Or bring cupcakes if a member is celebrating a birthday. You’ll soon discover that well-planned and properly executed meetings can be one of your most effective management tools.